And Now for a Bit of Catching Up (or, another round up) - Also, Coopworth Gansey Yarn Update.

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

FIrstly; because I have been arguing with my newsletter software, for those of you who expressed interest in the 2016 Coopworth Gansey yarn, I am pleased to report that it is back from the mill and sitting in my yarn room waiting for me to come home (which I shall do at the end of September).  I will be sending out individual emails to people on the Coopworth Gansey yarn wait list before I start dyeing to clarify orders and etc, so start thinking about yardage.  Hopefully I will eventually managed to send out a newsletter to folks on the wait list.


I have been back on the Sea Lion for two weeks now, which means it is just about time to write the round-up of what I got up to whilst on my last rotation home.  But first, while my internet remains somewhat limited, I have been doing my best to regularly post to Instagram, where I go by @uptonyarns.  My photos from my time on the boat are generally travel related more than yarn related, but I will admit that I've become a bit addicted to the ease of Instagram, and have taken to using it to showcase that one new dyelot of yarn that I dyed just before I left for the boat that doesn't warrant a whole newsletter (for instance).


While I was home this time I had the good fortune to be invited to vend at the the second session of the Tidal Tours Retreat in Machaisport Maine hosted by Jodi of One Lupine Fiber Arts and Sarah of the FiberTrek podcast.  The retreat was based out of a house with one of the loveliest views I have seen in a while, and I admit that I got a bit sidetracked (and then totally failed to photograph it, because yarn-ish things were also happening). 


I am looking forward to vending at the Highlands on the Fly retreat at the New England Outdoor Center in October. 


After the Tidal Tours Retreat I followed Sarah back up to her lovely cottage on the pond in for a long weekend of catching up and making things.  Sarah mainly sewed, and I took over part of her kitchen and yard to dye indigo. 




She also filmed a segment with me for a further episode of her podcast, but I am much happier behind the camera and I fear I may have rambled unto incoherence.  Hopefully she got something useable, but I may ask for a second try.


From there it was back to Worcester, where it was so hot that even the candle in candle holder above our mantle seemed to give up.




But I braved the warm temperatures and kept my dye pot anyway, dyeing quite a bit of my 3 Ply Cotswold fingering weight (suitable for Sanquhar) for Beth Brown Reinsel. 




I believe that she is turning some of it into kits, so, if you are interested, please get in touch with her.  You will also be able to find her this winter at the Spa yarn retreat in Freeport, Maine.  I hope to have Cotswold back in stock for my own purposes sometime this winter.


And without triggering my superstitions by saying too much, I am very excited about a couple of things happening this fall.  Very excited.  Fingers crossed.


Fringe Association, Cowichan-inspired Vests, and the Shackleton-along

by Sarah Lake Upton in

During my brief window of free and relatively fast internet I discovered the Fridge Association Blog (I suspect that I am late in my discovery, but I effectively live under an internet free rock for half of the year) and now I have a bit of a blog crush.   I am generally a bit more interested in the “tradition” side of the knitting world than the “fashion” side, but I have definitely been won over by some of her sense of style.  And by her photos.  For a myriad of reasons I have been wanting to learn how to sew for a long time, and scrolling back through her posts about Slow Fashion October (link) I have been inspired to finally take the leap when I get home, starting with the Stowe Bag and then the Gallery Dress (her blog post here, pattern here).  We’ll see if I manage to maintain this new resolve in the face of actually sewing.  I tend to feel about sewing machines and cutting fabric the same way I feel about a blank page, both engender a similar overwhelming sense of potential and fear which generally results in a sudden need to do absolutely anything else (and which can ultimately be quite productive, but not in terms of sewing or writing).

On a slightly different topic, I think I have mentioned FiberTrek’s fantastic Shackleton-along (Ravelry group here).  The basic idea is to work outside of your comfort zone and tackle that huge intimidating project that you have always wanted to do but maybe haven’t quite yet had the courage to start, be it knitting your first sweater or hand-spinning enough yarn for a shawl or learning a new technique.    I have been pondering my project for about six months now, meaning that I am about six months behind.  I am hampered a bit by my work and travel schedule (there is no room on the boat or in my luggage for my spinning wheel or a sweater-in-progress) and by my lack of reasonable internet on the boat (I thought about researching the knitwear worn by the Endurance crew, and replicating some of it) but I think I finally have a workable idea. 

It’s a long story, but one of the chief mates (we have two, they rotate the same way that I do) spent part of his break on the National Geographic Explorer,  which is the Lindblad boat that does the Antartica trips.  He brought me back 200 grams of bulky weight hand spun Falkland. 

The gift yarn in question, looking quite lovely against the backdrop of Manuel Antonio beach, Costa Rica.  I didn't really how tropical the color way was until I started photographing it with palm trees in the background. 

The gift yarn in question, looking quite lovely against the backdrop of Manuel Antonio beach, Costa Rica.  I didn't really how tropical the color way was until I started photographing it with palm trees in the background. 

Inspired by the Fringe Association KAL Cowichan style vest I’m thinking of something Cowichan inspired, which given the bulky yarn and large needles is not something I would normally knit, but given how much time we spend in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska it’s oddly appropriate.  It also ties neatly into a number of traditions and topics that I’ve been wanting to explore for a while, starting with the ways that traditional societies adapted and created craft "traditions" for the tourist trade.  The development and popularity of Cowichan sweaters is also probably roughly contemporaneous with Shackleton’s voyage (I think….). To match the yarn the chief mate brought me I plan to hand spin enough yarn for the rest of the vest, though I haven’t yet decided what fleece to use.  Like most spinners I have one style of yarn that I tend to create on autopilot (worsted, very fine) and I would like to branch out.  Creating woolen spun bulky weight is about as far as one can get from my normal spinning style, and I can (in theory) work it on a drop spindle, meaning that as projects go it should travel well. 

I just flew home the day before yesterday and am still very much in my readjustment period (my plans for the afternoon include knitting and catching up on Top Chef).  I shall think more on this next week.